During his weekly appearance on The Big Show Monday afternoon, Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork said this year's team has mental toughness that he feels was lacking in previous seasons. New England can secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory in Foxboro against Buffalo on Sunday. Last year, the Pats earned the top seed as well, but were upset in the divisional round by the Jets.
"I think we have a different ball club [this season],” Wilfork said. “We can't look at last year or the year before. This ball club that I have now, is a tough football team and we haven't had that in years past. Whatever happens on the field, they will not shell, not panic, lose concentration or focus. I'm excited about this week getting started, and if I'm feeling this way, I'm pretty sure everyone else is because this team is an amazing team when it comes down to character.
“This team went through a lot this year, ups and downs, and no one pointed the figure,” he continued. “We all came in each week and said we have to get better, we have to improve. That's our game plan each week, we have to improve. After this, it's a one-game season. We have to put all of our eggs in one basket.”
Wilfork lauded the resilience and mental toughness put on display against the Dolphins this past weekend, something he said never waned.
“I never thought from the sideline we were going to lose the game [against Miami],” Wilfork said. “I never thought guys gave up. Never once this year have I thought that. This team is a classy team. Being down 17-0, a lot of teams would have packed it in. I looked around and didn't see panic, and didn't see anybody yelling at one another."
Although, later on, Wilfork admitted the team cannot afford to dig itself into holes and, this week against the Bills, must start trusting its preparation as the competition gets harder.
“[We have to] start fast and make plays early,” he said. “[Not] wait until we need a play or until we're down. [Sometimes] we see things but we don't trust. We don't trust our technique, film we watch and our instincts. At some point we have to trust ourselves to make plays. Sometimes you're going to have to take the ball away. Sometimes I feel like we're scared to make a play on the ball. When we do that we'll be happy with the outcome.
“The teams we're going to be playing, starting this week against Buffalo, are not slouches,” Wilfork said. “Buffalo has beaten us already this year and [after that] the teams that we're going to be playing are in the playoffs for a reason. We have to match the intensity starting this week. We can't wait until the postseason, it doesn't work that way.”
The three-time Pro Bowler said the Patriots have yet to play a “complete” game. “Not once have we played 60 minutes of complete football,” he said. “I want to see how that looks, to play a complete 60 minutes as the New England Patriots. We have yet to do it. We've played three quarters and 55 minutes, but we haven't played 60 minutes. It's a great time to start this week.”
Wilfork echoed Tom Brady's claim Monday morning on Dennis & Callahan that team improvement and performance are more important than seeding. “[A bye week is] not important,” Wilfork said. “A week off didn't do us justice [last season]. I don't care, I just want to be able to get better as a football team.”
For more Patriots news, go to the team page at weei.com/patriots.
-- RYAN HADFIELD
We check in on the Patriots off-season with ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss. Mike updates us on Revis, McCourty, Wilfork and more.
Price calls Butch to discuss the March 2nd deadline for franchise tags, free agency and the Pats' plans going forward.
Shortly after the NFLRA released its statement demanding an apology from ESPN, Jim Quirk, the NFLRA's Executive Director, joined Mut to talk about the statement
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Jessica Camerato of basketballinsiders.com joins the show to talk about Marcus Smart, the starting lineup, and trade deadline.
The one and only Rob Bradford calls Butch to discuss his early thoughts on this Red Sox team, the potential in the rotation, how the outfield will shake out and more.
David Ortiz takes a few minutes to talk with Mut, Bradford, and Tomase about some of his new teammates, who Pablo Sandoval reminds him of, and the rules aimed at speeding up the game of baseball.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are talking Red Sox spring training. and talk with Red Sox DH David Ortiz about the rules aimed at speeding up the pace of the game
In the second of Sunday Skate, DJ and Joe discuss the approaching NHL trade deadline and what the B's will do. They get into the Boychuk move at the beginning of the season and Boychuk's brother venting on Twitter this morning about complaining B's fans. There is more discussion on the 3rd and 4th lines, their playoff chances and then they are joined by ESPN's Scott Burnside.
Another edition of Sunday Skate is upon us and DJ and Joe get into the B's big win over Arizona last night and the improvement of Ryan Spooner. They get into the Blackhawks giving up a 1st round pick for C Antoine Vermette - someone the B's could certainly use but weren't willing to give up the steep price of a 1st rounder. DJ and Joe also get into Claude's willingness to switch up lines as well as the performance of the 3rd and 4th lines. Finally, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sits down with the boys.
Scott Burnside joins the boys to discuss the Bruins and the NHL trade deadline.
A look back at Dennis and Callahan's 2015 trip to spring training. They visited with Larry Lucchino, Ben Cherington, Xander Bogaerts, John Farrell, Mookie Betts, Joe Kelly, Curt Schilling and Dustin Pedroia.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk are joined by Rob Bradford, Gordon Edes and Steve Buckley to forecast the 2015 campaign.
Pedroia joins the guys in Fort Myers to look at the upcoming season and his health entering the spring.
Brick joined the show to talk about the couple players that the B's added. He noted that the lack of subtractions means that the front office trusts the core group.
The Red Sox entire team wore the number 3 to honor Pete Frates. The HS team that was suspended for trying to bring awareness to breast cancer have been allowed to play. Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley are bad at karaoke, but not as bad as Joey and Christian.
With the Patriots focusing on CB Darrelle Revis, it's likely that the team will lose safety Devin McCourty or Brandon Browner. Or both.
We discuss Curt Schilling's outing of the internet trolls who thought rape jokes were appropriate to direct at his daughter, and we discuss it with you, on how this isn't just a sports issue, it's a societal issue.
Dale and Michael talk about the trade deadline deals and how the Bruins did improve themselves, but how it might not be enough to make the ultimate difference.
Mikey, Mut, and Lenny are joined by the Rev girls, who are revealing the New Revolution uniform Tuesday at the House of Blues in Boston and talking about the Revs.
Mikey, Lenny, and Maggie talk Red Sox baseball with Red Sox Hall of Famer Bill Lee, who is in Florida and out of the snow that's perpetually burying the area.
Mikey gets a call from Kirk Minihane, who wants to clear the air with Mikey and get everything settled. It goes better than you think.
Adam Himmelsbach, Celtics beat reporter for the Boston Globe, joins the show to share his love of the Brow and discuss the surging Celtics playoff chances. Then we take a field trip to the MIT Sloan Analytics Conference and analyze the data with Rick Friedman.
Chris and comedian Will Noonan discuss the events of last night's Raw.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin previews the opening round of the Hockey East tournament with Northeastern coach Jim Madigan and Mike McMahon of College Hockey News and The Mack Report.
Schilling chatted about his decision to fight back against the Twitter trolls that targeted his daughter. Curt talks about what he would like to see happen to the most vicious trolls.More from this show
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.More from this show
All the latest stories brought you by Kirk Minihane.More from this show